This is what I have learned from my own experiences in high school, college, the workforce, and from the Internet.
Teachers don't like to work.
I've been reading all these articles lately about President Obama and merit/performance-based pay, etc. This would be the appropriate place to throw in some links but the only one you need is here. Anyway, what I repeatedly see is that teachers are the most skeptical/against merit pay.
I can't help but wonder if this is from fear of being 'found out'. If teachers are rewarded based on test scores and my students aren't passing, somebody might just be taking a closer to look into what I'm doing.
I'm sorry if my skepticism is harshly judging the majority of teachers but what I see in my own school is that teachers don't want to work.
We know we need to improve so we read some more books, change our seating arrangements, try a new form of technology, dress different, talk different, go on home visits, start clubs, involve parents, go to meetings, and create committees.
It seems to me we are missing the real point of education reform: the way we teach. I think it's time we take a look at our curriculum and lesson plans and begin the reform there. We are against this because it's hard. We are against this because it's time consuming. We are against this because it means stepping into the unknown. All these side benefits and outside of school meetings and after school programs are not affecting what affects students the most: the quality of our teaching.
Let's cut back and trim down all the extra bull crap we do and make time to look at what we are teaching. Am I really cut out for this? Do I have any idea what I'm doing? Who can mentor me on this? Do I need to take more classes or learn more to do this? Am I prepared? Do I have someone who can teach me? What resources do I need? How can I improve? Is my current curriculum working? If it is, then why am I afraid of merit pay?
You're a good teacher or you aren't. We all know who the good ones are and aren't. But it's hard to document those things in order to reward teachers.
And while we are talking about performance-based pay, does that mean bad teachers will be docked for not meeting certain criteria?
Standardized tests are to monitor if we are teaching what and how we should be. We shouldn't be teaching to the test. If we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, the tests reflect that. To me, merit pay is a wake-up call to change and improve or that hey, I actually know what I'm doing here.
If you don't want the wake-up call to come from someone else or to come in dollars and cents, then wake up on your own.
Teaching is work- it's hard but it's what we get paid for.